No Wasting Time; Q&A With Keith Rivers

Expectations are high for Bengals rookie LB Keith Rivers, the team's top draft choice this year. He got started Wednesday on meeting those expectations as he practiced for the first time after a 10-day contract holdout.

GEORGETOWN, Ky. – First-round pick Keith Rivers participated in his first practice of training camp on Wednesday following a 10-day holdout. Rivers signed a five-year deal with the Bengals late Tuesday evening, a deal that is reportedly worth a total of $23 million.

Rivers worked out with the second-team defense on his first day but is expected to move up eventually to the first unit as the weakside linebacker. He spoke with reporters shortly after his first practice.

Q: Glad it's all over?

A: It's great to be in the locker room with the guys. I think I missed a little bit but I'm here now and I'm ready to rock-n-roll. We'll just go forward from here.

Q: Any anxious moments these last 10 days?

A: Sure. The closer they got to an agreement I would get anxious because I would be thinking every phone call I got would be my agent saying to go down there. For the most part I would try to hit up somebody about each day's installation.

Q: Who were you calling?

A: Dan Howell and Dhani a couple times. I'd text them just to get some information about what was going on as well as reading everybody's Web sites to find things out.

Q: How did you feel this first day?

A: I felt all right. I was a little disoriented just because everybody has been here and doing drills so I have to get used to things like talking football instead of sitting on the couch watching TV and working out. Hopefully I can correct the mistakes I made the first practice and continue to rock-no-roll.

Q: How do you deal with the expectations that come with being a No. 1 pick on a team that desperately needs a defensive upgrade?

A: The way I look at it is that nobody puts more expectations on themselves than I put on myself… I just want to compete and contribute – I'm going to go watch film right now and try to get a leg up on the second practice.

Q: Has anyone given you any grief about the holdout?

A: It's all been good-natured. I've heard all the new money comments but everybody is happy and they understand the situation. We're all ready to move on.

Q: Rookie you're paying for dinner, etc?

A: Yeah, that's been going on since the springtime.

Q: Miss too much practice?

A: Practice is everything, missing the first meeting was missing too much time. At this level, it's a business and I had to let things run its course.

Q: Will you play Monday (at Green Bay)?

A: We're just going to see how this week goes, I'm going to work like I am and hopefully I do.

Q: How much are you behind?

A: I'm not too far. I studied, so I'm up to date. I just need to keep on motoring and get in the film room, watch today's practice and correct my mistakes. The biggest thing is not to take too many steps backward and keep going forward.

Q: Did your system at USC help you?

A: The last four years, I played the weakside backer, it's pretty similar, just a little different terminology. I've just got to motor through and pick up on the new stuff and just press on.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish as a rookie?

A: I'm just going to come in try to compete and contribute, wherever the team sees me fit to help the best. If I can be All-World, that'd be great, everyone wants to, but it is the National Football League and you have to do the best you can.

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